Any time you are studying history, it is prudent to use sources as close to that time period as possible. We have found that definitions have been changed or deleted over time. Additionally, words are also added.
The Noah Webster Dictionary of 1828 is a fantastic resource. We encourage you to obtain your own hard copy of the book. It is also available on line, but it is our opinion that written copies of any book or document are better than digital copies when available.
Our founding documents clearly address the power and authority of the men and woman - as it is the people who established our government (both state and federal). Because our constitutions outline the limited power and authority we, the people, gave/give to the government service organizations (which primarily operate in Admiralty/Maritme Jurisidiction or Commerce), it is also necessary to have legal dictionaries available to you in your studies. Clearly, the older the legal dictionary the better. Bouvier's and Black's are the most common. Again, the older the better! This website is utilizing John Bouvier's 1839 "A LAW DICTIONARY, adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and the Several States of the America Union with References to the Civil and to other Systems of Foreign Law, and Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Edition published in 1979. You will see drastic differences in the Law dictionaries as they were published 140 years apart! How time does change some things!
Ignorance of the law is no excuse! We, the people, MUST KNOW the LAW (both Common Law and Admiralty Law) so we can hold our elected public servants accountable to the law!
This Definition Section is not exhaustive but will help you at the beginning of your journey learning and comprehending our founding documents and Common and Admiralty Law in general.
DISSOLVE (v): to disunite; to break; to separate; to loose the ties or bonds of any thing, to destroy any connected system; as to dissolve a government; to dissolve a corporation, to break up; to cause to separate; to put an end to; as to dissolve the parliament; to dissolve an assembly.
ASSUME (v): to take or to take upon... In law- to take upon one's self an obligation; to undertake or promise.
IMPEL(v): to drive or urge forward; to press on; to excite to action or to move forward, by the application of physical force, or moral persuasion or necessity.
SELF_EVIDENT (a): Evident without proof or reasoning; that produces certainty or clear conviction upon a bare presentation to the mind; as a self-evident proportion or truth that 2 plus 3 make five.
ENDOWED (pp): furnished with a portion of estate; having dower settled on; supplied with a permanent fund. (Endow: to settle on, as a permanent provision; to settle on a permanent fund of property. To enrich or furnish with any gift, quality or faculty.)
UN-A-LIEN-ABLE(a): that may not be transferred; as unalienable rights. (A-lien-able: That may be sold or transferred to another, as is alienable according to the laws of the State.)
PURSUIT (v) (of Happiness): The act of following with a view to overtake. To reach, accomplish or obtain.
SECURE (v): To guard effectually from danger; to make safe. To make certain; to put beyond hazard. Liberty and fixed laws secure to every citizen due protection of person and property. The first duty and the highest interest of men is to secure the favor of God by repentance and faith, and thus to secure to themselves future felicity (happiness or rather great happiness; blessedness, the joys of heaven's Prosperity; enjoyment of good).
INSTITUTE (v): 1. To establish; to appoint; to enact; to form and prescribe; as to institute laws or rules and regulations. 2. to found; to originate and establish. 3 . To ground or establish in principles; to educate; to instruct. 4. To begin, to commence, to set in operation. 5. To invest with the spiritual part of a benefice or the care of souls.
RIGHTS (n): 5. Just claim; legal title; ownership; the legal power of exclusive possession and enjoyment. 6. Just claim by courtesy, customs or the principles of civility and decorum. 7. Just claim by sovereignty; prerogative. God as the author of all things has a right to govern and dispose of them at his pleasure. 8. That which justly belongs to one. 9. Property; interest. 10. Just claim; immunity; privilege. All men have a right to the secure enjoyment of life, personal safety, liberty and property. We deem the right of trial by jury invaluable, particularly in the case of crimes. Rights are natural, civil, political, religious, personal and public. 11. Authority; legal power. We have no right to disturb others in the enjoyment of their religious opinions.
USURPATIONS (n): The act of seizing and occupying and enjoying the property of another, without right; as the usurpation of a throne; the usurpation of the supreme power.
EVINCE (v): To show in a clean manner; to prove beyond any reasonable doubt; to manifest; to make evident. To conquer.
DESPOTISM (n): 1. absolute power; authority unlimited and uncontrolled by men, constitution or laws; and depending alone on the will of the prince; 2. an arbitrary government.
GOVERNMENT(n): 5. The system of polity in a state: that form fundamental rules and principles by which a nation or state is governed or by which individual members of the body politic are to regulate their social actions; a constitution, either written or unwritten, by which the rights and duties citizens and public officers are prescribed and defined; as a monarchial government or a republican government.
GUARDs(n): Defense; preservation or security against injury, loss or attack. That which secures against attack or injury; that which defends. A man or body of men occupied in preserving a person or place from attack or injury.
OPRESSIONS (n); The act of oppressing; the imposition of unreasonable burdens, either in taxes or services; cruelty; severity.
PETITION(v): To make a request to; to ask from; to solicit.
REDRESS(n): Reformation; Amendment; Relief; remedy; Deliverance from wrong, injury or oppression; as the redress of grievances. Reparation; indemnification.
TYRANT(n); A person who exercises unlawful authority, or lawful authority in an unlawful manner, one who by taxation, injustice or cruel punishment, or the demand of unresasonable services, imposes burdens and hardships on those under his control, which law and humanity do not authorize or which the purposes of government do not require.
UNWARRANTABLE(a): Not defensible; not vindicable; not justifiable; illegal; unjust; improper.
JURISDICTION (n): In its most general sense, is the power to make, declare or apply the law; when confined to the judiciary department, it is what we denominate the judicial power, the right of administering justice through the laws, by the means which the laws have provided for that purpose. Jurisdiction, is limited to place or territory, to person or to particular subjects.
MAGNANIMITY (n): Greatness of mind; dignity of soul.
ACQUIESCE(v): To rest satisfied.
COMMERCE (n): (Bouvier's Law, 1839)... Trade, contracts, as the exchange of commodities for commodities, considered in a legal point of view, it consists in the various agreements which have for their object to facilitate the exchange of the products of the earth or industry of man, with an intent to realise a profit.
From the NOAH WEBSTER, 1828 Dictionary
(general every day definitions as compared to legal definitions):
DOMICILE (n): An abode or mansion; a place of PERMANENT residence, either of an individual or family; residence
(v) To establish a FIXED residence, or a residence that constitutes habitancy.
INHABIT (v):To dwell, to live, to abide
INHABITANT (n): One who dwells or resides permanently in a place, or who has a fixed residence, as distinguished from an occasional lodger or visitor.
RESIDE (v): To dwell permanently or for a length of time; to have a settled abode for a time. The peculiar uses of this word are to be noticed. When the word is applied to the native of a state, or others who dwell in it as permanent citizens, we use it only for reference to that part of the city or country in which a man dwells. We do not say generally that Englishmen reside in England, but that a particular citizen resides in London or York... A man lodges, stays, remains, abides, for a day or very short time, but reside implies a longer time though not definite.
RESIDENCE (n): The act of abiding or dwelling in a place for some continuance of time; as the residence of an American in France or Italy for a year.
In common law: the abode of a parson or incumbent on his benefice; opposed to non-resident.
RESIDENT: (a) Dwelling or having and abode in a place for a continuance of time but not definite; as a minister. (n) One who dwells in a place for some time.
NONRESIDENT (a): Not residing in a particular place, on one's own estate, or in one's own proper place; as a non-resident clergyman or proprietor of lands.
(n) One who does not reside on one's own lands, or in a place where official duties require. In the United States, lands in one state or township, are called the lands of non-residents.
PROPRIETOR (n): An owner; the person who has the legal right or exclusive title to any thing whether in possession or not; as the proprietor to a farm or of a mill. By the gift of God, man is constituted the proprietor of earth.
From the BOUVIER 1839 LAW DICTIONARY, 1839
Legal definitions as compared to every day definitions/ usages.
DOMICIL: Is the place where a person has FIXED his ordinary dwelling without a present intention of removal.... In order to constitute a domacil, two circumstances must unite, namely, actual residence, and an intention to remain.
INHABIT: Does not appear in this dictionary
INHABITANT: One who has his domicil in a place is an inhabitant of that place, one who has an actual FIXED residence in a place. A mere intention to remove to a place will not make a man an inhabitant of such place, although as a sign of such intention he may have sent his wife and children to reside there. Nor will his intention to quit his residence, unless consummated, deprive him of his right as an inhabitant.
RESIDE: Does not appear in this dictionary
RESIDENCE: The place of one's domicil. In some cases the law requires that the residence of an officer shall be in the district in which he is required to exercise his functions. Fixing his residence elsewhere, without an intention of returning would violate such law.
RESIDENT: International law- is a minister, according to diplomatic language, of a third order, less in dignity than an ambassador or an envoy.
NONRESIDENT: Does not appear in this dictionary
NON RESIDENCE: Ecclesiastical Law- The absence of spiritual leaders from their benefices.
PROPRIETOR: The owner.
From the BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY, 5TH Ed., 1979
Legal definitions as compared to every day definitions/ usages.
DOMICILE: That place where a man has his true, FIXED and PERMANENT home and principal establishment and to which whenever he is absent he has the intention of returning... The permanent residence of the person or that place to which he intends to return even though he may reside elsewhere... "Residence" signifies living in a particular locality while "domicile" means living in that locality with intent to make it a fixed and permanent home.
...For the purpose of federal diversity jurisdiction, "citizenship" and "domicile" are synonymous.
(!! So does this mean if I am domiciled in Michigan, I am a citizen of Michigan- as compared to the 14th Amendment defining UNITED STATES CITIZEN as one born or naturalized in the UNITED STATES and subject to its jurisdiction?)
INHABIT: Synonymous with dwell, live, reside, sojourn, stay, rest. (Really?)
INHABITANT: One who resides actually and PERMANANTLY in a given place, and has his domicile there... But the terms "resident" and inhabitant have also been held not synonymous, the latter implying a more FIXED and PERMANENT abode than the former, and importing privileges and duties to which a mere resident would not be subject. A CORPORATION CAN BE AN INHABITANT ONLY IN THE STATE OF ITS INCORPORATION (emphasis added!)
RESIDENCE: Personal presence at some place of abode with no present intention of definite and early removal and with purpose to remain for undetermined period, not infrequently but not necessarily combined with design to stay permanently... Residence implies something more than mere physical presence and something less than domicile... Residence is not synonymous with domicile though the two terms are closely related; a person may have only legal domicile at one time, but he may have more than one residence.
RESIDENT: " Any person who occupies a dwelling within the State, has a present intent to remain within the State for a period of time, and manifests the genuiness of that intent by establishing an ongoing physical presence within the State together with indicia that his presence within the State is something other than merely transitory in nature. The word resident when used as a noun, means a dweller, habitant or occupant; one who resides or dwells in a place for a period of more or less duration; it signifies one having a residence, or one who resides or abides.... Word "resident" has many meanings in law, largely determined by statutory context in which it is used."
Q: Why do we suddenly see the "State" involved in the definitions?
Q: What does the "State" have jurisdiction over?
NON-RESIDENT: One who does not reside in the JURISDICTION in question; not an inhabitant of the state of the forum. Special rules govern service of process on non-residence.
Q: What does this mean?
Q: What is the difference between state, State and STATE? (generally and legally in the English language)
NON-RESIDENCE: Residence beyond the limits of particular jurisdiction. In ecclesiastical law, the absence of persons from their benefices.
STATE: State: A people permanently occupying a fixed territory bound together by common law habits and custom into one body politic exercising, through the medium of an organized government, independent sovereignty and control over all persons and things within its boundaries, capable of making war and peace and of entering into international relations with other communities of the globe... Any state of the United States, The District of Columbia, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession SUBJECT TO THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY OF THE UNITED STATES.
Q: What is the definition of PERSON?
A: In general usage, a human being or natural person, THOUGH BY STATUTE may include: A FIRM, LABOR ORGANIZATIONS, PARTNERSHIPS, ASSOCIATIONS, CORPORATIONS...FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS...
As defined by Bouvier: The word is applied to men, women, and children who are called natural persons. It is also used to denote a corporation which is an ARTIFICIAL PERSON. (emphasis added)
As defined by N. Webster: A Latin word signifying primarily a mask being worn by characters on a stage. (!)... 1) An individual human being consisting of body and soul. We apply the word to LIVING beings only, possessed of a rational nature...6) A character of office...8) IN LAW- An articifical person, is a corporation or body politic.
Q: Do you see any problems with what you just read in that definition of "State"?
Q: Why does the "State" exist?
Q: Who is subject to its jurisdiction?
Q: What about the word PERSON?
Q: How come none of our "legal documents" coming from the STATE refer to men or women but individuals, persons, etc.? (But NEVER men and women)
Q: Do you think it wise to take a second look at any and all legal documents and request a list from the source- of all definitions specific to that document?